Wednesday night, after he dispatched the Pistons players with four three pointers in the final three minutes, Chauncey Billups took aim at Detroit’s coaches and management.
Wednesday made the eighth straight game Rip Hamilton has missed. Officially last night was because of the stomach flu, but if he had shown up to the arena early and healthy he still would have sat. Coach John Kuester has benched him.
And Billups told the Detroit News he doesn’t get it.
“My thing is he is Pistons royalty with the things he’s done for this franchise,” Billups said. “He has not warranted the activities they have given to him. I feel like he is one of the greats and his jersey is going to hang in the stands at some point. None of the other guys whose jersey is up there had to go through this. \
“It is disrespectful.”
Let’s not pretend that the current Hamilton is the same player as the Richard Hamilton that was curling off picks for catch-and-shoot 17 footers in 2004. He’s lost a step and if you want to reduce his role then it makes sence. But he is no DNP-CD player. He can contribute. However, the Pistons have gone to far down this silly little road now to turn back. At first the benching was believed to be because Hamilton was part of the three-team Carmelo Anthony trade, but when that fell apart Hamilton has remained glued to the bench.
The Pistons need to trade him. Disrespectful is a good word for the situation.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.